Dallas Cowboys

Thornton limited in practice, but vows to be ready for the Packers

Special to the Star-Telegram


FRISCO – Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Cedric Thornton was limited in Wednesday’s practice, but is expected to play in Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.

Thornton has missed the last three games with a sprained ankle. But he vows to be ready in time to take on quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

"My ankle is great,’’ Thornton said "We’re not worried about my ankle. We’re worried about everybody’s ankle.’’

Thornton hasn’t played since the Dec. 11 contest in New York against the Giants. Thus, he may be a bit anxious about getting back on the field.

"I just want to go out there and do my job the best way I can to free up (linebacker) Sean Lee, to free up all our (line) backers and allow the secondary to play great and just put pressure on Aaron Rodgers all game,’’ Thornton said. "He played great the last game.

"We’re just going to continue to have great practices this week and continue to work our game plan and continue to be successful on Sundays."

Thornton just hopes he doesn’t have to be a player on a potential Hail Mary pass from Rodgers. On the final play of the first half of last Sunday’s 38-13 win over the New York Giants, Rodgers lofted a momentum-changing 42-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to Randall Cobb.

For his part, Thornton would rather not see Rodgers in another Hail Mary situation.

"If I’ve got to defend the Hail Mary we’re in trouble anyway,’’ Thornton said "I just feel like we’re going to be effective in doing our job and worrying about us and how we’re going to dictate the game and not so much on how they’re going to dictate it.’’

Thornton, however, doesn’t want a situation where Rodgers is doing a happy dance in the backfield for seven or eight seconds while waiting for a receiver to get open. That often occurred against New York with devastating for the Giants.

"What’s important is that we rush together so we know where Aaron Rodgers is and allow us to know where each other is so he won’t get outside,’’ Thornton said. "I think we’re going to be prepared.

"(Defensive coordinator Rod) Marinelli is going to have us right, so I think we’re going to do all we can to give ourselves a chance to win on Sunday.’’

And if the Cowboys win Sunday, they’ll play the Seattle-Atlanta winner in the NFC Championship game for the rights to advance to the Super Bowl.

The Cowboys haven’t played since resting several players and limiting others during a 27-13 loss at Philadelphia in the Jan. 1 regular season finale. So, is a does of anxiety creeping into the minds of the Cowboys?

"The only thing we’re itching about is doing our job for our brothers beside us, for our brothers behind us and for our brothers on offense and for our brothers on special teams,’’ Thornton said. "So we’re going to work together as a unit, try to get three-and-out and get on and off the field, put the ball in the offense’s hands as much as possible, allow the special teams to make their plays.

"So we’re going to do this as a team and not (reply on) individual success. We’ve had team success all year and we’re going to continue to do that.’’